Fruit and vegetable exporters are facing challenges shipping fresh produce abroad, a member of the Nigeria-Vietnam Business Association, Mr Sunday Anjorin, has said.
He said lack of standard packaging materials and certification process were challenges hindering Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) from accessing international fruit markets.
He said fruit and vegetable exports faced many challenges, including quality.
He noted that it was a challenge as SMEs could not explore foreign orders for fresh fruits, with new standards emerging on efficient packaging materials which local exporters could not meet.
Anjorin said Nigeria had great potential to produce fresh fruit, but the challenge was how to meet the orders.
According to him, there were markets opening their doors to agricultural products from Nigeria in the European Union (EU), South Africa and the United States. He added that export of agricultural products, considered fresh and competitively priced, to new markets were increasing.
He said packaging needed to be adapted to stabilise fruit and vegetable export.
Though the nation’s agro exports have reduced given the rejections of consignments because of pests in the shipped produce,Anjorin said there were few cases bordering on absence of phyto-sanitary or plant health certificates.
He said there were limited cases of use of fake phyto-sanitary certificates and doctoring of such documents by exporters as the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service and relevant agencies were working to ensure exporters grew pest- and disease-free fruits and vegetables.
According to him, plant health certificates were issued based on physical inspections by officials of plant quarantine stations.